Major League Soccer today unveiled the fan ballot for the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, featuring eight players from all 24 clubs as nominated by national media. The following Sporting players are eligible for fan voting:
- Goalkeeper: Tim Melia
- Defenders: Matt Besler and Graham Zusi
- Midfielders: Gianluca Busio, Felipe Gutierrez and Ilie Sanchez
- Forwards: Krisztian Nemeth and Johnny Russell
Among Sporting’s eight All-Star nominees, five are seeking MLS All-Star recognition for the first time. Zusi (2012-15, 2017-18) has landed All-Star honors in six of the last seven seasons, Besler (2011, 2013-16) is a five-time selection, and Ilie received his first All-Star nod in 2018.
The MLS All-Stars will battle 10-time Spanish champions Atletico Madrid at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando on July 31 in the 2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. The summer showcase will air on FS1 and UniMas in the U.S. and across more than 170 countries globally.
Fan Voting for the 2019 MLS All-Star Game Fan XI presented by Target is now available online at SportingKC.com, through the free MLS app, and via the EA SPORTS “More Than a Vote” Challenge. Fan voting will run until 11:59 p.m. PT on June 13.
The 11th player will be determined by the EA SPORTS “More Than a Vote” Challenge. Starting today, fans will have the opportunity to vote one player onto the MLS All-Star Fan XI presented by Target by playing EA SPORTS FIFA 19 on PlayStation4, Xbox One, or PC. Using their favorite players in the starting lineup of any gameplay mode, each starting appearance will count as one vote toward the EA SPORTS “More Than a Vote” Challenge. The player with the most appearances through June 13 will earn the final spot on the 2019 MLS All-Star Game Fan XI presented by Target.
Sporting's MLS All-Star Game Fan XI Candidates
- Goalkeeper Tim Melia: The 10-year MLS veteran has saved both penalties he has faced this season. He has 32 saves, on pace to be the second-most in his career, and owns four shutouts in all competitions.
- Defender Matt Besler: Sporting's all-time leader in appearances has started seven MLS matches and 13 in all competitions, helping the club to four clean sheets.
- Defender Graham Zusi: The attack-minded right back has completed 85% of his passes and recorded two assists in eight MLS starts. He also played in five of Sporting's six matches during their run to the Concacaf Champions League Semifinals.
- Midfielder Gianluca Busio: The 16-year-old wunderkind became the youngest player in MLS history to score in three consecutive league matches from March 30 to April 14. Busio recently starred at the Concacaf U-17 Championship, recording five goals and three assists for the U.S. Men's National Team en route to a second-place finish and tournament Best XI honors.
- Midfielder Felipe Gutierrez: The Chilean has bagged four goals and an assist in 10 MLS starts. He leads Sporting in duels won (51) and tackles won (16) while ranking second on the team in chances created (17).
- Midfielder Ilie Sanchez: The 2018 MLS All-Star has tallied three goals and appeared in all 17 competitive matches for Sporting this season. He leads the team in successful passes, having amassed 21 clearances plus 39 duels won in MLS action.
- Forward Krisztian Nemeth: The in-form Hungarian is tied for third in MLS with seven goals and has scored 11 times in all competitions, almost halfway to the club record of 24 with five months of the season still to play. The team's leading scorer also has one assist and 11 chances created in MLS.
- Forward Johnny Russell: The indefatigable Scot is one of eight MLS players with at least four goals and three assists. He leads Sporting with 27 chances created and has appeared in all 17 competitive matches, adding two assists in his team's run to the Champions League Semifinals.
The full roster of 2019 MLS All-Stars will be selected in three phases:
- Ballot creation: Media members determined the field of players – eight players per team, consisting of at least one player per position, to comprise the Fan Ballot. Those players are eligible for fan voting and the EA SPORTS “More than a Vote” Challenge.
- Fan voting: From May 23 through June 13, fans will select the 2019 MLS All-Star Game Fan XI presented by Target. Fans can vote via the free MLS app or online at MLSsoccer.com.
- Team selection: The MLS All-Star head coach will select the gameday roster from the pool of players nominated by the media. In addition, MLS Commissioner Don Garber will make two player selections to join the roster.